“Providing space for the learner’s voice means accepting that learner’s beliefs, knowledge, experiences, concerns and desires are valid content in the language learning classroom.”
~Luke Meddings & Scott Thornbury, Teaching Unplugged, Delta Teacher Development Series, 2009
This week’s Dogme Blog Challenge (week 5) is about voices. What does it mean to have a voice? How can we provide space for the learner’s voice in the language classroom? Is the student’s voice different in L1 and L2? Is my voice (as a non-NEST) the same in English and in Portuguese? It is the perfect follow up to last week’s materials light challenge , to which there were some very interesting and thought provoking posts in response. While tweeting/talking about some of the posts and the reflections that emerged from them with Dave Dodgson (@DaveDodgson) we had the idea of doing a joint response for the next post. When Karenne (Sylvester) put up this challenge and we saw it was all about voices we just knew what we wanted to do… a conversation. Especially because there were some great posts from challenge 4 shaped as conversations (Willy Cardoso’s “A Boring Pub Conversation“, followed by David Deubel’s whispered ” A Boring Library Conversation” – where I learned the KISS (Keep it Student Simple) – Neither of them boring at all, I can assure you!).
We considered many ways of doing it, but settled on using Wetoku and have a real conversation – or as real as possible when one of us is in Turkey and the other in Brazil. We thought it would be the perfect way to show our voices - metaphorically and literally speaking. And this is what came from it:
(Note: Extra credit to Dave who, as every great teacher, did his research and even found out about two pubs in Recife (where I live) – Downtown and Uisqueria da Praça – to suggest as places we could’ve had a pub conversation!)
I hope our conversation was able to convey our thoughts on the issues raised by the challenge clearly. I had a lot of fun doing it, discussing an interesting issue, reflecting on the proposed questions… Despite our very different circumstances (Dave is a NEST working in Turkey, at a regular school, with 10-year-old students while I am a non-NEST teaching English in Brazil, at a language school and my students’ages range from 12 to 40) it’s fascinating to find out how similar our views (and many times our teaching practices) are. It serves to show me how teachers are teachers, it doesn’t matter where they are from or where they are. And the same can be said about the students!
Thanks for a great idea and an even better conversation Dave. It was great hearing your voice! And you can check Dave’s post in our joint venture here in his Reflections of a Teacher and Learner. I recommend it!
Here are the other posts in response to Dogme Blog Challenge #5: